I've been thinking about this whole 'Ideal Reader' thing, and the value of getting someone else to read your writing before it goes out to an agent/editor/the real world. I know I'd struggle without my IR, not least because she nags me to keep writing. The first novel would never have been finished had it not been for her gentle nagging/encouragement/downright bullying. The second novel hopefully won't need quite so much of this, not least because it's under contract, so umm... I kind of have to write it. And I want to, so that's good. But I could still do with huge dollops of encouragement, of course.
There aren't many people I'd trust to read my writing in its raw state. There aren't many (any?) people whose opinion I value so highly. BUT could I benefit from some different perspectives? Or would too many cooks spoil the book? Would I be too confused by one person saying 'I love this character - she's so DARK,' and another person saying 'Urgh, I hate this character - she's so DARK'? Would my brain explode?
It's an interesting question, to me at least.